School calls cops after kid 'shot' teacher with finger gun | Inquirer News

School calls police after kid with Down syndrome ‘shoots’ teacher with finger gun

/ 04:07 PM February 13, 2020

finger gun stock photo

A school in Pennsylvania, United States called the police after a 6-year-old girl with Down syndrome gestured to shoot a teacher with a finger gun. The mother has labeled the school’s response an overreaction.

The Tredyffrin-Easttown School District reasoned to the mother, Maggie Gaines, that it was only following protocol when it involved the police on the incident, as per CBS-affiliate KYW-TV on Feb. 4.


Six-year-old Margot, a student at Valley Forge Elementary School, reportedly pointed a finger gun at her teacher out of frustration last November. However, it was only late last month when Gaines appealed through a statement for the school district to update its threat assessment policies.


“On November 19, Margot, who has Down syndrome and often struggles transitioning between activities, was asked by her teacher to do something she did not want to do,” the mother said in the statement. “At one point in her refusal she pointed her finger at her teacher and said, ‘I shoot you.'”

“The teacher brought Margot to the principal, who talked to my daughter and quickly determined that she neither understood what she was saying nor meant any harm to her teacher or any of her classmates,” she added.

Despite concluding that no one was in danger and that Margot’s words were a transient threat, the school district maintained that its policy required calling law enforcement, as per Gaines’ statement.

Gaines said she “was fine with everything up until calling the police,” stressing that it was “ridiculous” that the school district had to involve the cops for the incident.

The mother is worried for her daughter due to the potential ramifications, according to the report. Although Margot has no criminal or juvenile records, her name is part of an official police report stating she made a threat to a teacher.

“She really didn’t understand what she was saying, and having Down syndrome is one aspect, but I’m sure all 6-year-olds don’t really know what that means,” Gaines was quoted as saying.


In the statement, Gaines said it was “troubling” how the school district’s staff “chose to interpret the policy in the strictest possible way” without considering the disability of her daughter, who is in kindergarten.

Gaines added that she and her husband are appealing to update the policy “to ensure there is an appropriate response to perceived threats so that school officials are not over-reporting minor disciplinary issues to law enforcement.” Ian Biong/NVG


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TAGS: Pennsylvania, Police, Schools, United States

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